Loving animals in art: Elizabeth Osborne at Woodmere

Elizabeth Osborne's 2016 'Untitled (Sleeping Dogs).' (Courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia's Locks Gallery.)

It’s not often that my love of the arts collides with my passion for pets, but Woodmere Art Museum is granting my wish this winter with Elizabeth Osborne: Animal Paintings and Watercolors. Running January 13 through June 24, the show offers a warm, colorful, evocative peek at our furry friends through the eyes of an important Philly artist.

Osborne (born 1936), who continues to live and work in Philly, graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in 1958 and was a faculty member there from 1963 to 2011, in addition to her 50-year painting career (her work is in collections at Woodmere, PAFA, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Michener Museum, and more). She has exhibited throughout the country.

Her work spans figurative painting, abstract compositions, and representation, from inspirations in nature to tantalizingly crammed bookcases. Her undulating abstractions of color invite the viewer like windows to another world, where alien-hued horizons beckon smoothly. The new Woodmere show promises an exploration of “a charming, lesser-known side of Osborne’s practice,” where the “beauty and special personalities” of household pets shine through.

On Saturday, February 3, at 3pm, there will be a gallery talk with the artist ($15; $10 for Woodmere members); there is a free open house the same day, beginning at 4pm.

Elizabeth Osborne: Animal Paintings and Watercolors runs January 13 through June 24 at Chestnut Hill’s Woodmere Art Museum, 9201 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia. Tickets are $10 ($7 for seniors and free for members and students with ID). For more information, call 215-247-0476 or visit online.

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